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Porchetta is a roasted whole hog tradition from the Italian region of Umbria. Turning it into a home cook–friendly pork roast proved challenging. After testing recipes with pork loin (too dry) and pork belly (too fatty), we settled on a boneless pork butt roast. Traditional porchetta is succulent and complex because almost all parts of the pig are used. For our scaled-down version, we added pancetta (seasoned and cured pork belly that has not been smoked), which lent a richness to the filling and helped baste the roast from the inside out. Fennel is a key flavor of the dish. We used ground fennel seeds in a seasoning rub and, while the roasted pork rested, we used the time (and the flavorful fond in the pan) to roast wedges of fresh fennel. Be sure to buy a boneless pork butt, not a boneless picnic roast; both are cut from the shoulder, but the butt comes from higher up on the animal and has a better shape for this recipe. Porchetta leftovers make great sandwiches, thinly sliced and served on crusty bread or ciabatta rolls. Leftover roasted fennel is perfect for sandwiches, as well.
7- to 8-pound boneless pork butt
ounces pancetta, cut into ½-inch cubes
01To prepare the roast, remove any twine or netting around the pork. Locate the cut made to remove the bone, then open up the roast. Using a sharp knife, continue the cut until the roast opens like a book; do not cut all the way through, as the meat must remain in one piece. Using the tip of a paring knife, make 1-inch-deep incisions into the pork, spaced about 1 inch apart; do not cut all the way through the meat. Set aside. In a food processor, pulse the pancetta until coarsely chopped, about 15 pulses. Add the butter, rosemary, oregano, garlic, pepper flakes, ½ cup of the ground fennel and 1 teaspoon salt. Process until the mixture forms a spreadable paste, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl as needed. Spread the paste evenly over the interior of the pork, pressing the paste into the cuts. Roll the roast into a tight cylinder, then set it seam side down.
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Hi Diane -
No. This recipe calls for a boneless pork butt, which is a moderately tough cut of pork with a lot of connective tissue and fat. Because of this it needs to be cooked low and slow and to an internal temperature of 195 degrees to become tender. A boneless pork loin is a lean cut that should only be cooked to 135-140 degrees otherwise it becomes tough and chew.
The Milk Street Team
Hi Teresa -
This recipe calls for a boneless pork butt, which is a moderately tough cut of pork with a lot of connective tissue and fat. Because of this it needs to be cooked low and slow and to an internal temperature of 195 degrees to become tender. A boneless pork loin, tenderloin or chops are lean cuts that should only be cooked to 135-140 degrees otherwise it becomes tough and chew.
The Milk Street Team
I made this recipe over the weekend, having stuffed and rolled it 2 days ahead of the roasting. While the flavor was wonderful, and I will probably make this again some day, I have a few comments to make. The meat was difficult to cut into neat slices, as it rather fell apart. There was so much filling, that I found myself pushing it aside on my plate and not eating it due to its texture and strong flavor. Perhaps my rosemary was too old and intense? Finally, I felt the exterior coating could have benefited by the use of more salt. Thank you, 177milkstreet!